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December 11
1975 - Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society incorporates as a 501c3 nonprofit [Heritage Junction]


Ekata“Exert, heal, rejuvenate” is more than a slogan for the Ekata training center and urban retreat, it’s at the core of everything they do.

With an East-meets-West philosophy, the center combines western sports science and an alternative to the traditional fitness club model. Ekata merges Eastern tradition, martial arts training and Intelligent, scientific training designed to promote long-term wellness – mental and physical.

“Ekata is Sanskrit for ‘oneness’ and that really sums up our focus,” co-founder Ed Monaghan said. “Our programs are not just about physical training, but about philosophy, discipline and holistic training.  We’re bringing an entirely new model to the Santa Clarita Valley.”

Fusing a variety of martial arts and physical training, therapeutic services, education and more, Ekata (pronounced “ehka-TAH”) is providing a one-stop shop for training and wellness for in the Santa Clarita, with programs for both children and adults. Founded in 2006, the center is taking a major step in 2014, with the introduction of its new 10,500-square-foot headquarters at 27831 Smyth Dr. in Valencia. The site will include three main classroom and training areas, a teen study area, childcare room, treatment and meditation rooms, and locker and shower rooms.

“This is really what we always envisioned Ekata becoming,” Monaghan said. ”It’s a place where the entire family can train and it’s amazing to finally see this dream come to fruition.”

Ekata’s offerings fall under three main headings: martial arts, fitness and health. The martial arts programs include classes focusing on balance and flexibility, such as T’ai Chi & Qigong, Yoga and Boxe Francaise Barre. Developed by co-founder JoAnn Wabisca, the barre class incorporates techniques from Boxe Francaise Savate, called the “ballet of kickboxing.” The Jeet Kune Do component of Ekata’s martial arts training includes street defense concepts, Savate, Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and JKD Nitro, a unique class focusing on strength, agility and balance training.

One of the unique features of Ekata’s offerings includes athletic program designs for youth and pediatric populations.

“I’ve seen kids’ bodies horribly abused in competitive sports programs,” Monaghan said. “We want to train children how to develop a balanced body that can be effective in athletic settings without pushing children beyond their capabilities. We build quality movement patterns that translate to any physical setting.”

Monaghan has been involved in the health/fitness and martial arts fields for more than 25 years. A professor at the University of California, Los Angeles’ school of Theater, Film and Television, he has studied a variety of martial arts for nearly 40 years, with instructor certifications in Jeet Kune Do, Savate, Miay Thai, Karate and Kung-Fu. In addition training numerous celebrities, he has also assisted in defensive tactics training for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. In 2010, he was inducted into the USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame and voted Martial Arts Leader of the Year.

After a long career in the film industry, Wabisca turned her focus to martial arts, becoming one of the first women in the U.S. to receive the black belt equivalent rank of “Silver Glove” in Boxe Francaise Savate. She is also a certified instructor in Muay Thai and Jeet Kune Do.

“The phrase ‘martial arts’ can conjure up a number of different definitions,” Wabisca said. “Our focus on both the ‘yin’ and ‘yang’ sides of martial arts provides a thorough curriculum of training in both flexibility and agility, with discipline at the core of everything.”

As part of their fitness program, Ekata offers combat choreography; the Alexander Technique, which teaches proper posture, balance and alignment; Conceptual Movement, incorporating dance and gymnastics; and hip-hop dance. The center offers personal training packages, and members also have access to an off-site sports performance lab as part of Ekata’s partnership with Dr. Chris Powers, head of the biokineseology program at the University of Southern California.

True to Ekata’s dedication to “exert, heal, rejuvenate,” the center also offers a full program of sports and Swedish massage, acupuncture and physical therapy. As part of Ekata’s focus on nutrition and herbiology, the new location will also feature a full juice bar and nutritional coaching.

“In addition to being a training center, we also intend to provide a number of workshops that will bring world-class instructors to the Santa Clarita Valley,” Wabisca said. “These are the type of things that really elevate what we’re providing for the community.”

For more information, visit www.Ekata.net or call (661) 505-8191.

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